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How to boost Mac security with custom user accounts

Boost your Mac security quickly and easily with these simple account setting tips

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mainWhen you have a Mac that is used by a number of people, it’s always best to set up individual user accounts for each of them. Not only does it provide each person with their own workspace to save documents, music and photos, it also gives them a space that they can customise with their own personal settings, apps and wallpaper.

No two people work in exactly the same way, and this is reflected in each user space. Different users will need different apps, and often they will need them at different times. With Mavericks, you can customise each individual user account with its own settings, so whether you want to change the user’s image and name, or pick which apps open automatically when they first log in to the workspace, you can do it here.

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step 11 Unlock

Before you can make any changes, you’ll need to click the lock in the bottom-left corner of the Users & Groups panel and input your admin password to unlock the section.

step 22 Picture perfect

Click the image under the Password tab and you can change your user image. There are several default options to pick from, or you can access shots from iCloud, iPhoto and more.

step 33 Add or improve password

If you want to really improve security, you’ll want to make sure that every account has a password, and that they’re all something secure. Make them as complex as possible.

step 44 Add an Apple ID

You can also associate Apple IDs with specific users, allowing them to access your user account from elsewhere and reset the password on your Mac should anything go wrong.

step 55 Reset with Apple ID

To allow the associated Apple IDs to reset the password, make sure this box is checked. You can associate as many IDs as you like, so you can add a trusted friend if you like.

step 66 Parental Controls

If you’re using a machine that is shared with younger users, you can also add Parental Controls to their user space, limiting what they can download and install to avoid viruses.

step 77 Login Items

Click the Login Items tab and you’ll find a section that enables you to select the apps that open automatically on login. Some apps add themselves by default when installed.

step 88 Add or remove

To add an app you want to open every time you log in, or to remove an app you don’t need, use the ‘+’ and ‘–‘ buttons below the list. To add, simply pick the app you want.

step 99 Guest User

You can enable a Guest User on your Mac if you like, but this is aimed more at those with lots of visitors, and if you’re hugely concerned about security, leave it switched off.

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